Tuesday, July 26, 2005

'Balkan' Lazio adds Kosovo-born midfielder Behrami to roster

Rome - Lazio of Rome announced Tuesday the signing of Kosovo-born Swiss midfielder Valon Behrami from second division side Verona for a reported 2.8 million euros (3.36 million dollars).

The highly-rated 20-year-old signed a five-year contract worth 300,000 euros per season, set to rise progressively to 500,000 euros. Verona agreed to sell its 50 per cent stake in the player after obtaining the consent of Genoa, which owns the other half.

Behrami will join a squad that features strikers Goran Pandev of Macedonia and Igli Tare of Albania and which local media have already nicknamed "Balkan Lazio".

The Roman club is trying to bounce back after narrowly escaping bankruptcy last year. The team will play Marseilles of France in the Intertoto competition semifinal scheduled to take place on Wednesday.

Winners of the Intertoto Cup are allowed a place in next season's UEFA Cup.

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